I hesitate to say this, but a few evangelists and church leaders that I have meet have not always been the most friendliest or approachable of people. I find this ironic because one of the required characteristics of a leader is hospitality. Often evangelists and pastors are busy, driven, goal orientated people, leaving very little time for the ‘small talk’ of life.
This book is a reflection on the question What does reconciliation look like when you love Jesus and want the best for people who are caught in situations of terrible evil, need or despair? How would our lives and our ministries be different if our understanding of love employed friendship?
It’s a great question and this book seeks to turn this reflection into a reality.
Friendship at the Margins is filled with stories and testimonies; stories and testimonies that we need to hear and learn from. It should both pull on your heart strings and challenge you in your own approach to the issue of ‘friendship’.
We need books like this one so that we can get a small dose of reality – a glimpse of how our brothers and sisters on the mission field are ministering in places and into situations which we would find challenging.
For us in the west evangelism can be very impersonal. We share the gospel to someone and move on to the next person. We give a tract out and we move on. We invite someone to a service and we move on. There are times when we need to be told to stop; to take stock; to check out our motive. To realize that we must learn to invest in people’s lives rather than as another name on our membership roll.
This books does that.
Evangelism requires words, but as the authors point out, words can be cheap. No, evangelism, interaction with people, requires more than words – it requires a commitment to get involved. It requires an investment of time, energy and compassion. It requires the willingness not just to open a can of worms, but to help be involved in its clearing up. It involves learning to get into friendships with people for the long haul.
If the church exhibited more of the characteristic of friendship at the margins we would have a revolution on our hands. It will also shake up our schedules.
Here is a link to a video of one of the authors, Chris, discussing the book. CHECK IT OUT HERE